The Chainlink

Encouraging High-Visibility and Reflective Gear for Safe Cycling, or Victim Blaming ?

http://bikeportland.org/2014/12/12/think-encouraging-high-vis-gear-...

Days are getting shorter and people are commuting in the dark. Transportation agencies encourage cyclists to wear bright/high-visibility/reflective clothing and use lights. That might sound like common sense info to some, to others it is an offense. A form of victim blaming. Do you feel "being seen" helps you to "be safe?"

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I feel a bit confident that motorists we see me better when I'm wearing reflective clothing and using lights at night. However, this is not a guarantee that I won't be hit by a motorist, I still must ride 'defensively'. 

Making myself visible means that I have a lot fewer close calls at night, especially in areas with a low volume of bike traffic. In that sense, yes, being seen makes me feel safer, but it doesn't mean that I stop paying attention to what's going on around me, or doing extra to get a driver's attention or avoid a driver if it seems like they don't see me.

I don't understand what the big deal is. From what I read, the agencies were promoting not mandating hi vis gear for night riding. If you want to wear it do, if not don't.

I don't do high visibility gear; that's my vanity speaking.  (It doesn't speak often, but when it does it holds a trump card.)

But I do ride with my lights on at all times (even during the day) because it really helps being seen.  A big part of being seen is, in a nutshell, being borderline obnoxious about being seen.  I do it with lights, others do it with high visibility gear, whatever floats your boat.  Whatever you do, just be seen.  Nothing infuriates me more than riding in pitch black and coming across a biker on the road with no reflectors, no lights, and more often than not riding a black bike.

Personal choice.  I wear ridiculous clothing because I want to.  I am only irritated by those who do nothing to make themselves visible.  After dark, front lights are required by law. After dark, and in the rain, lights on cars are required by law. I am also irritated when I see cars at night with no lights because, despite their size, cars with no lights are hard to see in the dark.

Seems like a reasonable approach to me.
 
Davo said:

hi vis gear for night riding. If you want to wear it do, if not don't.

Totally agree about the frustration with bike ninjas out there. I've had close calls with them as a cyclist, pedestrian and driver. At the very least, having even small blinkies makes a difference.
 
Lisa Curcio 4.1mi said:

Personal choice.  I wear ridiculous clothing because I want to.  I am only irritated by those who do nothing to make themselves visible.  After dark, front lights are required by law. After dark, and in the rain, lights on cars are required by law. I am also irritated when I see cars at night with no lights because, despite their size, cars with no lights are hard to see in the dark.

I'd wear a clown suit if it saved me from even one crash. I wear a white helmet, a bright yellow retro reflective vest, blinking lights fore & aft and numerous reflectors on the bike itself. No motorist can claim not to have seen me.

As has been said on many occasions in different places in this forum, not seeing something that obviously was there is not a defense.  However, I won't care if I was right and the driver was wrong if I am dead or even seriously injured.  But Thunder Snow, I heard there is a video somewhere that shows that the clown suit does not work. :-)

My clothing tends to be dark but wear a reflective belt, reflective ankle bands, have reflective stickerrs on my fenders and have multiple lights.  I think being seen is a good thing. We can differ over what is enough. I agree with Anne that being a ninja can increase your odds of bad things happening. 

Suggesting riders wear things or use lights that will help them be seen is not victim blaming. After a tragedy we can still look to the behavior of drivers, design of streets etc. I try to avoid breaking down an incident after it occurs as I don't want to victim blame.  Until one happens you increase your odds of getting home in one piece by being visible.  We are comfortable with differing levels of risk in our lives. As I age I become more of a chickenbleep and prefer to be seen. 

In short I never say that the incident  occurred because the rider was a ninja but I will always say a rider has a greater chance of getting home safely if he/she is not a ninja.

I agree with several sentiments here, after all, all of us are the Gorilla.

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